Parliament House

Alþingi was founded at Þingvellir in 930 (“the assembly fields” or “Parliaments Plains”). Alþingi, which was held in summer each year, is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institution in the world. To begin with Alþingi was attended by the community leaders, called Goðar, and their supporters, called þingmenn. The Goðar would discuss and pass legislation and dispense justice. Alþingi was a huge assembly each year, drawing large crowds and considered one of the main events in Iceland each year.

Alþingi held its sessions at Þingvellir up until 1799 then it was discontinued for some decades. Then Alþingi was restored in 1844 and moved to the capital city Reykjavík, there it has be held ever since. The role of Alþingi has changed somewhat through the ages, but it's main function today is to discuss and pass legislation. Today there are 63 members of the parliament, voted by the public. They are no longer called Goðar, obviously, but are instead called þingmenn, which translates as People of the Alþingi or Parliament.

In 1881 the Alþingishús (Parliament House) was build and is now one of the oldest stone buildings in Iceland. The house is made out of hewn Icelandic stone and is a classical 19th century structure, designed by the danish architect Ferdinand Meldahl.


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